As I first reported two weeks ago, Microsoft has planned for weeks to finalize Windows Vista Beta 1 on July 27 (see URL below). Well, they're about to do it: On Wednesday, Windows Vista build 5112 will be declared as Windows Vista Beta 1. Microsoft still plans to ship Beta 1 to testers and MSDN and TechNet subscribers by August 3, as announced last week. Microsoft is also expected to soon ship the first public beta of Internet Explorer (IE) 7.
As previously reported here in WinInfo, Microsoft planned to ship Beta 1 only after it achieved the "0 active bug" designation for the product. Last Friday, July 22, 2005, the company finally reached that milestone. "We're at 0 active Beta1 bugs older than 24 hours and are looking good to hit 7/27 for Beta1 release," an internal email reads. "We are now in real time triaging mode for the milestone." That triaging continued over the weekend and through early Tuesday. Microsoft internal documentation also notes that the company has switched solely to DVD media for disc-based distribution of Windows Vista builds.
Microsoft is using the term "clarity in your world" to market Windows Vista. The product will include three broad areas of improvements: Confidence, connectivity, and reliability. Beta 1 is the first release stable enough to be broadly deployed by testers, while future releases will begin adding new end user functionality that he promises will excite consumers and businesses. Microsoft hasn't yet decided when Windows Vista Beta 2 will ship but the company will use the feedback from Beta 1 and other interim builds to determine the timeline for Beta 2.
In the meantime, Microsoft briefly published privacy documents on its Web site, unwittingly describing some of the features we can expect to see in Vista Beta 1 and IE 7. According to the documents, Windows Vista Beta 1 will include the following unique features:
- An auditing feature that lets administrators monitor Windows Vista systems and create security logs.
- A new Games Explorer that aggregates and manages the games you've installed on your PC.
- IE 7, a new version of Microsoft's Web browser.
- Parental controls that allow parents to restrict which games children can play.
- A new Peer Name Resolution Service based on the Peer Name Resolution Protocol (PNRP) that allows you to collaborate with other users.
- A Windows Rights Management Services (Windows RMS) client that lets you work with Windows RMS-protected data files.
- A new Windows Backup utility for backing up an entire disk volume to a DVD, CD, external hard disk, or network share.
- The Wireless Provisioning Service, which automatically connects Windows Vista-based portable computers to public Wi-Fi hotspots using a secure connection.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's documentation notes that IE 7 Beta 1 will include a Delete Browsing History feature that "lets you clear with one click the cookies, Web site passwords that you asked Internet Explorer to save, entries in Internet Explorer's history folder, Web form data, and temporary Internet files that have been saved on your computer. You may also clear some of these items individually." IE 7 Beta 1 will also include a Phishing Filter that can warn you if the Web site you are visiting might be impersonating a trusted Web site, the document says.
Additionally, Microsoft is now allowing MSDN subscribers to download the product key they will need to install Windows Vista Beta 1. MSDN is a subscription program aimed at developers.
I've been working with pre-Beta 1 builds of Windows Vista for the past few weeks and will have an exhaustive review available, along with other articles, as soon as Microsoft gives the OK (though admittedly, that could be as late as August 3). Stay tuned to the SuperSite for Windows for the most comprehensive coverage of Windows Vista on the Web.
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